11 ways to spark queer joy this holiday season

Lesbian couple relaxing on couch
Photo: Shutterstock

It’s the holiday season, so it’s time to bring as much joy into our lives as possible.

This time of year can be especially difficult for LGBTQ people, so take these 11 tips on board for finding happiness over the holidays.

Related: 5 holiday gifts for Cyber Monday that won’t cost you a thing

Enjoy your comfort holiday movies

Those classic holiday movies you can recite line by line but just never tire of? It’s their time to shine! Dig out the queer holiday movies that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and watch them to your heart’s content. It might be a soppy romance movie, or perhaps it’s a jolly comedy. Whatever it is, grab the popcorn and enjoy. Also, did you know that rewatching your favorite movies repeatedly can lower stress levels and ease anxiety? If you’re feeling uneasy about what this holiday season might bring, Carol or Make the Yuletide Gay could be what you need.

Connect with your people

Holidays are often a time of togetherness. They’re a time of family gatherings and reconnecting with relatives you only see once a year and who always seem to ask why you’re still single. While there might be some unavoidable social occasions this holiday season, it’s important to connect with people who make you feel safe. You might do this by meeting up with friends or chatting with pals you’ve made across the pond on social media. However, you do it, stay in with your community this holiday season, particularly if you find it isolating or overwhelming.

Reflect on your victories from the year

The end of a year is a good time to reflect on what’s happened throughout the past 12 months. This is a perfect opportunity to celebrate the victories you’ve had. It may be a major milestone like coming out to your family or reaching a big birthday. Or, it could be something that others deem small but which feels precious to you, such as buying an item of clothing that makes you feel confident or standing up to a bully. Whatever it is, take a moment to feel proud of the person you’ve become and the strength you’ve acquired this year. Even if all you did was survive, that’s an achievement.

Protect your mental health

Looking after your mental health is crucial all year round. It’s also the key to feeling joyful. Protecting your mental health can be simple things like taking a bubble bath, enjoying a hot chocolate, or going for a winter walk. But, it’s also the bigger things – setting boundaries and saying no, walking away from situations where you can’t be your best self, confiding in others, and seeking advice when you feel lost. Your mental wellness is essential to you being able to live your boldest, truest life. If you feel good on the inside, you can radiate unapologetic joy on the outside.

Let your hair down on the dance floor

If you’re a partygoer, the dance floor might be just the place for you to find some joy this holiday season. Head to your favorite gay bar and dance the night away, or make an awesome playlist and organize a karaoke night with your friends. These nights can be a good way to just unleash your inhibitions, feel free and forget about any problems. They’re also an opportunity to enjoy your favorite Christmas tunes and sing along loudly without shame.

Cozy up with a good book

If you feel more at home on the sofa under a blanket than in a nightclub, dive deep into your favorite book. Maybe it’s a cheesy Christmas story that makes you feel mushy, a beautifully written love story, or a gripping crime thriller. Reading is a good way of sparking joy while being by yourself and having some quiet time.

Tuck into your fave foods

This time of year is pretty food orientated, so take full advantage of everything from turkey to candy canes. You might even want to do some of your own cooking by experimenting with new recipes or baking an old family favorite. Food is good for the soul, so don’t hold back.

Get crafty and creative

Being creative is a really wholesome way to spark joy, and you needn’t be super artistic to unleash your creativity. It can be anything from decorating your Christmas tree to making homemade cards or knitting a Christmas jumper. Getting arty is a really fun way of spending those chilly days indoors, and it’s always nice to give someone a gift on Christmas morning that you know they can’t buy in a store since it was made using your very hands.

Curate your social media feeds

As we wind down for Christmas and new year, it’s likely you’ll spend more time mindlessly scrolling through social media. So, make sure what you’re seeing is making you feel good. Follow people who inspire you to be your best self and who make you happy. Follow pages that make you laugh and feel heard. Social media doesn’t have to be a place that makes you feel terrible. When used correctly, it can be a magical place that boosts your self-esteem and motivates you to live freely.

Celebrate yourself

Human beings are inherently bad at celebrating themselves, but now’s the time to do it, especially as you reflect on everything you’ve done and been through this year. Take a moment to hype yourself up in a world that can be filled with real negativity when it comes to people being their authentic selves. Tell yourself that you are amazing because you are and you deserve to hear it.

Practice affirmations and mantras

Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself positive things, things that you probably needed to hear when you were younger. If you repeat them often enough, they’ll find a home inside your mind and you’ll believe them to be true. Tell yourself that you are courageous, you are loved, you are unique, you matter, you are capable of great things, you have a purpose, and that the coming year is going to be filled with everything that makes you happy. End the year on a positive note and head into the new one with hope and optimism.

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